To what extent was the outbreak of the Cuban Missile Crisis due to Castro’s provocative actions? The period of 1950 to 1979 saw the Cold War extending beyond its traditional borders in Europe and finally tore the world into a North-South polarization with each major powers supporting and sponsoring a faction in their chosen client states. This could be seen in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Although Castro had genuine security reasons, his actions leading up to the Cuban Missile Crisis were aggressive to a limited extent.
This essay aims to examine the actions and motivations of Castro in leading to the outbreak of the Cuban Missile Crisis in order to determine the extent to which were provocative, taking examples from 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion to 1962 the outbreak of the crisis. Indeed, Castro’s aggressive actions to take care of their economic concerns did play a part in causing the outbreak of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Cuba’s main source of income was from the production of sugar. However, a vast majority of the sugar plantations were in the hands of the Americans.
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Due to the nature of the crop, Cubans are only employed for about 4 months a year. Nationalizations of US owned companies thus provided the regime with necessary resources to ‘return’ the country back to the people. Castro nationalized a billion dollars’ worth of American investments in Cuba and thus removed US’s dominance in Cuba. This thus shows that Castro’s revolutionary idealism was anti-American because of US economic dominance in its ex-colony. He was determined to oust USA’s ‘dollar diplomacy’.
USA thus responded to Castro’s actions by placing an economic blockade and stopped buying Cuban sugar, the country’s principal export. However, the Soviet Union agreed to buy the sugar, resulting in a closer relationship between USSR and Cuba. This thus shows that Castro’s aggressive actions led to an increase in rivalry and stirred hostility between the superpowers, leading to the outbreak of Cuban Missile Crisis. TS2: However, despite Cuba’s economic concerns, Cuba also had its security concerns and thus led to its aggressive actions which cause the outbreak of Cuban Missile Crisis.
The reason as to why Castro moved closer to USSR was mainly due to USA’s threat. USA’s Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961 which aimed to overthrow Fidel Castro led to him seeking for Soviet’s protection. Also, with the US attacks on Cuban economy, Cuba relied largely on USSR and Chinese aid. When USA halted all sugar imports from Cuba, it was a threat to Cuba and to Castro as sugar was Cuba’s chief export and USA was its main market. Due to USA’s sabotage of Cuban economy, Castro signed a trade agreement in February 1960 with USSR who promised to buy one-sixth of the Cuban sugar.
Castro’s fear of USA’s threat led him to sign an alliance with the USSR in July 1961. Therefore, this alliance formed between Castro and Soviet Union led to the outbreak of Cuban Missile Crisis. Ts3: However, USSR’s motivations in placing missiles in Cuba were based on hostile ideological and economic expansionism. A significant implication of the USSR’s fallout with China that started in the late 1950s was that the socialist world was not a cohesive one. Krushchev had made fundamental changes to the communist doctrine and now advocated peaceful co-existence.
This shift was done without consulting their counterpart. Between 1985 and 1959, Khrushchev , through economic aid, had tried to oust mao and bring China under the subordination of the USSR but he failed. In the 1960s this dispute escalated into a difference in the interpretation of the communist ideology in which both USSR and China claimed to be the leaders of the Marxist theory. This was a serious implication because communist ideology encouraged fraternity. The USSR needed to reverse this perception by demonstrating solidarity with the other communist regimes in the world by backing Cuba.
A communist Cuba would keep the Marxist- Leninist cause alive in the only place it had any significant appeal , that, is , the Third World. USSR also had economical concerns in Latin America . Khrushchev also sought to consolidate trade links with the Third World. Thus, USSR’s concerns were largely aggressive thus causing the CMC. TS4: Khrushchev was also motivated by an aggressive desire to consolidate his power at home and overseas in order to maintain his prowess as the pre-eminent communist leader.
Failure of domestic and foreign policies such as virgin lands campaign , regional economic council reforms, Berlin crisis -Failure of domestic and foreign policies (virgin lands campaign, regional economic council reforms, berlin crisis) -Castro’s initial opposition to deployment of missiles(under cuba security concerns in chart) LS: thus it could be argued that Khrushchev was opportunistic in supporting cuba, reflecting aggressive intentions. TS5: USA’s aggression on the other hand, was obvious in its actions towards Cuba from 1959 onwards. USA’s actions towards Cuba, displaying ideologically driven aggression -USA’s desire to secure economic interest in Cuba (link to aggression) TS6: Probing deeper into USA’s policies towards Latin American also helps in understanding its aggressive actions in Cuba. -USA desire to contain communism in Latin America. In conclusion, it can be argued that security concerns, while real, were not as crucial as aggressive motivations for the superpowers in the Cuban Missile Crisis